How fast do you close your books?
If you can close your books, distribute reports to stakeholders, AND give analysis or data-driven insights to management within 5 days after period-end, then CONGRATULATIONS — you may stop reading this now and get on with doing a very fine job!
These days, it is not uncommon to find Finance organizations struggling every period-end — swamped with non-value adding activities and overworked during closing — resulting to burned-out employees, increased risk of errors, and out-of-date results. This is especially true in retail organizations (i.e. drugstores, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) where consolidation of multiple remote locations remains a challenge.
Fret not, here are common and simple solutions and approaches applied from years of experience in various industries:
- Define clear objectives. People will follow you if they know where you are going.
- Set key performance indicators. You can’t control (hence, can’t improve) what you can’t measure.
- Ensure continuous learning & development. When you know better, you do better.
- Automate. There are already an abundance of technology solutions available even to small enterprises from as basic as desktop automation like workflow and macros to sophisticated cognitive automation.
- Integrate. When data is compartmentalized, organizations look to the office of the CFO to initiate integration of various systems in order to operate from a single version of truth.
- Innovate. To maintain competitive advantage, it is imperative that your business be up to date with all of the relevant technological upgrades such as cloud-based technology.
- Standardize and simplify. From transactions processing to master lists to report templates, standardization enhances the quality of data and makes it easy to spot mistakes/errors.
- Implement and enforce effective controls. Strategic checkpoints and red-flags throughout the period eliminates period-end lengthy tracking and tracing and resolution of errors.
- Set cut-offs. Pro tip: It doesn’t have to be the last day of the month.
- Process documentation. Documentation of tasks that are done more than once or completed by multiple people provides consistency and allows easy monitoring and revision of processes as you go along.
- CONTINUOUS ACCOUNTING embeds automation, control, and period-end tasks within day-to-day activities. Blackline explains it accurately in these illustrations (READ MORE: https://www.blackline.com/continuous-accounting).
OLD MODEL: Record-to-report
THE MODERN APPROACH: Continuous Accounting
How we can help?
Developing and implementing a solid finance transformation agenda is the hallmark of our ACCOUNTING SERVICES model — we build, operate, and transform fundamental capabilities in people, processes, and technology. Contact us to KNOW MORE about how to FAST CLOSE.